Teenager shot in head while riding motorbike in Sunderland

Two people have been arrested after what police believe was an isolated incident 

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A 15-year-old boy is in critical condition after being shot in the head while riding on the back of a motorbike in Sunderland

Police arrested a 39-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm following the incident in Hewitt Avenue at 8.40pm on Wednesday. They remain in police custody.

The boy, who was riding pillion on the bike, was taken to Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle with a “serious head wound,” police said. The driver of the bike was unharmed. 

Police currently do not know whether an air gun or firearm was used in the shooting. A search is still on going for the weapon. 

A Press Association journalist at the scene said a blood-stained tea towel could be seen on the pavement behind a police cordon, where officers were carrying out a thorough search of the street.

Investigators believed it to be an isolated incident but extra officers were patrolling in the area to reassure residents.

Locals said a group of children usually played on motorbikes in the area.

"They are quite considerate for being such young kids,” said Brogan Connify, 21, who lives in the street where the incident took place. 

“There have been times I have asked them to keep the noise down and they have apologised and moved. They are lovely around here."

"There's nothing to cause this, no bullying. With it being such a small community, they have all grown up together, it doesn't matter the age. This is a massive shock."

Another resident, John Thompson, 63, said: "It's an isolated thing, it's quite pleasant here. It's a shock."

Southern Area Commander Chief Superintendent Ged Noble, said: "The 15-year-old boy remains in hospital in a critical condition and our thoughts are with his family at this time. 

“We understand they and the local community will be concerned about this incident and will have questions around the circumstances, and I would like to reassure them we have a team of detectives working to establish what happened.

"At this stage it is not clear whether or not the weapon used was a gun or an air weapon. However, I would like to stress that we do not believe that this incident is in anyway linked to other incidents that we have had in the city where a firearm has been discharged.

"Neighbourhood officers are in the area, speaking to local residents and offering reassurance and I would urge anyone who is concerned to speak to an officer on patrol."

Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 1063 061016 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Press Association